Stuffing stockings is hard. At my house, we draw each others names to stuff stockings, and every year I get my mother, who has the largest stocking in the world. I’m not kidding. It could hold my obese cat and enough food to last him to New Years. So every year, I begin the painful task of keeping to a budget and stuffing the stocking with great gifts she’ll love. I’m sure we’ve all gotten desperate and used the “wrap it in a large box so it takes up more room” trick, but this year I started my shopping early, so come Christmas morning I can be proud as she unwraps.
My shopping started with Starbucks Via. My mom’s favorite roast is the Christmas blend, which is only sold…at Christmas. She’s a pilot and relies on Via for those long international flights, so every box counts! This year I hit up the Starbucks 12 days of Christmas deal and bought a few while they were on BOGO (buy one get one free). Money saving tip: befriend a barista so they can give you great tips!
I finally went vegan, which means I’m striving to keep the gifts I give cruelty free. Everyone loves soap. It’s something you use every day, rely on, and it never spoils. Lush Cosmetics has a great line of soaps, lotions, skin care, beauty, and bath products. Almost everything is vegan, they never test on animals, and they back their products 100%. For the relaxation enthusiast (aren’t we all, though?) try a bath bomb. They’re fizzy, naturally scented bombs that take a bath to the next level. Their products can be on the pricey side, but it’s a sure thing. Even my finicky teen brother adores his Lush shaving products and soap bar. Not sure what scent to get? Try their Dirty soap bar, which has a fresh lemon scent. You can’t go wrong with citrus!
I know I’ve talked about it before, but I can’t say enough good about Ina Garten’s recipe for marshmallows. They’re a huge crowd pleaser, really cheap to make, and keep for a few months. You can control the thickness when they set, which means fluffy cubes dusted in toasted coconut as a luscious dessert, or spread thin and cut with a snowflake cookie cutter and dust with powdered sugar for a dramatic topper to hot cocoa. Hit up a local craft store for take out boxes or fancy plastic pouches. These tuck into stockings easily, can be made in bulk for the easy acquaintance gift, and are totally vegan! Just make sure you have a working candy thermometer, or you’ll spend all night scrubbing burnt sugar out of a pot (not that that has ever happened to me!).
What are your go to stocking stuffers? Of course, these small gifts don’t have to be used in stockings. They’re great universals for non-Christmas celebrators, birthdays, white elephant parties, and coworker/classmate gifts! I highly recommend the marshmallows dusted in cocoa powder and sugar as a gift to a teacher, especially the day before finals! He can’t grade you down if he knows you’ve been slaving over a hot stove making fancy treats, can he?